While our most notable roundup of the famous wild ponies occurs at the end of July, there are two lesser known round-ups – one in the spring, and one in the fall. The ponies don’t make the swim over to Chincoteague like they do at Pony Penning, but rather are corralled on neighboring Assateague Island over the course of a weekend in April. It’s a great time of year to visit and experience the magic of the wild herd, without all the hurly-burly that comes along with Pony Penning.
The primary reason of the spring roundup is for veterinary & farrier checks after the winter months. It’s also a great time to assess the number of foals that have been born so far in the season, to prepare for the auction in the summer.
In addition, it’s the point in which any “buyback” ponies from the previous year are brought over to Assateague Island (via horse trailer) and released to live their lives wild on our neighboring island. Previous to this, the foals are kept at the carnival grounds, so the Chincoteague Fire Department can keep an eye on them during the winter months that can be harsh on a foal only a few months old.
This year the spring roundup will take place the weekend of April 13- 14, 2018.
Friday April 13th – the southern herd will be rounded up and penned at the corral on Beach Access Road, which is located to your right on the way to the beach. The saltwater cowboys usually have them there by the late afternoon. Once they’re safely in the pen, they allow people to gather around the outside of the fence to take photos, general surveying of the situation, etc. A parking area is located behind the corral at the Woodland Trail. Enjoy the ponies and then stick around for a gorgeous sunset!
Saturday April 14th – the Saltwater Cowboys set up to round up the northern herd of ponies bright and early. The northern corral is located in an area of Assateague that isn’t accessible by vehicle. You’ve got to “hoof it” (no pun intended!) down a 3-mile (6 miles round trip) gravel road, which is a great hike for many folks – but not so much for others. It takes a few hours to round up these herds as there is alot more ground to cover, and more ponies. Due to safety concerns, the public is only allowed up to the cattle grate fence initially. Once they have them safely in the pens, they allow spectators to line the fence to get a gander at the ponies and take photos. Make sure to pack plenty of water and some bug spray for your hike!
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING ON THE ISLAND?
It’s a great time of year to visit Chincoteague Island, as it’s still considered our “off-season” – but most of our wonderful restaurants and businesses have opened their doors for the year. Here are a few events going on that weekend that are worth checking out:
- The winter film series hosted by the Chincoteague Island Arts Organization will have a showing of “Kinky Boots” (2006) at 7 PM on Friday, April 13th. Tickets are $5.00.
- The Chincoteague Center is kicking off yard sale season with an Indoor Yard Sale on Saturday morning, April 14th at 8 AM. A wise man once said one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
- Our friends and neighbors at NASA Wallops Flight Facility host a series of activities at their Visitor Center geared towards children on Saturdays. On April 14th you’ll find Engineering Gliders and Paper Airplanes on the lineup. For more information on the activities, or the full lineup – visit them here.
READY TO PLAN YOUR SPRING GETAWAY?
View our wonderful selection of Vacation Homes HERE – We even have Pet-Friendly Homes! Or give us a call at 844.662.2583 – we always love to here from you!